When 17-year-old Glenn started having strange symptoms that included lumps, and trouble breathing through the night, his family took him to the ER where he soon realized his life would change.
“I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said Glenn. “It derailed my life.” The high school junior started treatment, which was tough, and was tapped to be a part of a special medical study that meant even more time in doctors’ offices and hospitals
It was during his treatment that Glenn was referred to Make-A-Wish Arizona.
“I was a little shocked at first, because I thought I was too old and I didn’t expect people to be so nice,” said Glenn. “But once they assured me it was not just for young kids who were terminal, I started thinking of all the possibilities.”
He soon settled on a wish that would combine his two biggest passions, fossils and dinosaurs.
“I wanted to be a paleontologist who went on expeditions and studied dinosaurs as a kid. So my wish was an opportunity for me to live out that dream. It was something I probably never would’ve had the chance to do otherwise, which made that much more of an impact on me.”
“I wished to go to Patagonia, Argentina—a well-known area for dinosaurs and home to the world’s largest land animal to ever live, the Argentinosaurus,” said Glenn. “I was shocked when they said it was a wish they could grant not only for me, but my whole family would be able to come.” Glenn and his family were soon on their way to Argentina.
Once he arrived, he was treated to a special one-on-one meeting with paleontology expert Pablo Puerta. Puerta toured him through his work, took him to labs, and museums. Glenn also said “we got to go to a dig site called El Dinosaurio Estancio where we met with four paleontogists and helped them with an excavation.” Glenn soaked up everything he could about the fossils and dinosaurs discovered in Argentina. Glenn also noted that “we were even lucky enough to go to a museum that dealt with marine life.”
But Glenn’s favorite part was seeing the massive beast Argentina is known for, the Argentinosaurus. Before seeing this dinosaur he said, “we had seen the Giganotoasaurus and thought it was gigantic but the Argentinosaurus is many times larger!”
“It was so thrilling to be with people who truly knew what they were talking about,” said Glenn. “It was like a cure for me. I had experienced a lot of depression and survivor’s guilt after my treatments started to really work and this trip showed me that people really cared and wanted me to get better.”
“My wish was a long-term dream of mine that became a reality thanks to Make-A-Wish Arizona,” said Glenn. “It made me realize that I could pursue the things I wanted in my life and that my cancer did not have to hold me back.”
It also inspired Glenn to pursue a career in helping others, just how Make-A-Wish did with him, but with science included, like Dr. Puerta.
Now 27 years old, Glenn has graduated with a degree in Biology and is doing research with Neuroscience.
“I think, when you first hear about Make-A-Wish, you think it might be a sad story but the truth is, when wish kids get to use their imagination and create big wish ideas that happen, it is everything a child needs to get on with their lives,” said Glenn. “It was such a great experience. I will forever be grateful for all they did to make my wish a reality.”